WASHINGTON, D.C. - Big oil companies dodged a big bullet on Tuesday, with the help of Senate Republicans.
Senate Democrats wanted to slap the five largest oil companies with a windfall profits tax.
Under the plan, a 25 percent tax would have been tacked on to any so-called "unreasonable" oil profits.
Republicans were able to block it.
They insist higher taxes would only increase gasoline prices and reduce the incentive for oil exploration.
"Hitting the gas companies might make for good campaign literature or evening news clips, but it won't address the problem. This bill isn't a serious response to gas prices. It is just a gimmick," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
"What nerve does it take for us to give oil companies 17-billion dollars in taxpayer money? With those kinds of profits? This is like the twilight zone. This can't be real. We can't honestly be standing here and saying to the American people it's a great idea for us to keep giving them your money when they are making 83-grand a minute," Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, said.
The republicans threatend to filibuster.